Does Vinegar Kill Mold? (DIY Spray Instructions)

Mold can be a real nuisance in any home. If left unchecked, it can spread and damage your walls, furniture, and even your health. Vinegar is often recommended as a natural and non-toxic way to kill mold and prevent it from coming back. Here is everything you need to know about using vinegar to kill mold.

What You Need to Make a Vinegar Mold Spray

Making a DIY vinegar spray to kill mold is easy. Here are the ingredients you need:

  • White or apple cider vinegar – Use undiluted vinegar with at least 5% acidity. Do not dilute it.
  • Spray bottle – Use a clean empty spray bottle. Avoid reusing a bottle that contained other chemicals.
  • Essential oils (optional) – Oils like tea tree oil can help enhance the antimicrobial effects.
  • Water – For heavier mold growth, you may want to mix equal parts vinegar and warm water.
  • Old rags – Have some disposable rags to wipe down surfaces after spraying.

How Does Vinegar Kill Mold?

The acetic acid content in vinegar gives it antifungal and antibacterial properties. It helps kill mold spores and prevents future mold growth.

Vinegar is able to penetrate porous materials like drywall and wood, killing mold at the roots. Its acidity neutralizes mold and destroys the mold cell structure.

However, vinegar does not kill mold instantly. It takes hours or days of repeated applications for the acidic effects to take hold.

Is Vinegar Mold Spray Effective?

Using a vinegar solution is an effective and natural way to kill mold on non-porous surfaces like tiles, glass, metals, sealed stone, etc. The results are best when you:

  • Use undiluted white distilled vinegar or apple cider vinegar with 5% acidity.
  • Spray liberally and let it sit for 1-2 hours before wiping. Reapply every few hours.
  • Scrub gently with a brush for stubborn spots.
  • Dry the surface thoroughly after wiping down vinegar.
  • Continue applications daily until all visible mold is gone.
  • Maintain low indoor humidity levels to discourage mold growth.

How to Use Vinegar to Kill and Prevent Mold

Follow these steps to use vinegar effectively to remove mold:

1. Protect Yourself

Wear gloves, goggles, and a mask to prevent exposure to mold spores or skin irritation from the vinegar. Open the windows and use a fan to ensure good airflow.

2. Mix the Vinegar Solution

For heavy mold growth, mix equal parts vinegar and warm water in a spray bottle. For lighter mold, you can use undiluted vinegar. Add several drops of essential oils like tea tree if you want extra antimicrobial effects.

3. Apply the Vinegar liberally

Spray or pour the vinegar liberally over the entire moldy area until completely saturated. Get into crevices and undersides too. Let it sit for at least 1-2 hours.

4. Scrub and Wipe Away

Gently scrub with a stiff brush to loosen the mold. Wipe away all the residue with old rags. Repeat scrubbing and wiping until no more mold is visible.

5. Allow Surface to Dry

It is crucial to allow the surface to dry completely before the next application. Mold needs moisture to thrive, so drying inhibits regrowth.

6. Repeat Daily

Apply the vinegar generously 2-3 times per day until no more mold reappears. This ensures you kill the roots and mold spores completely.

7. Correct Moisture Issue

Determine and fix the moisture source that caused the mold growth. Maintain proper ventilation and dehumidification to prevent recurrence.

8. Disinfect with Vinegar Weekly

Spray vinegar as a preventive measure on mold-prone areas about once per week. This disinfects and inhibits new mold growth.

Tips for Getting Rid of Mold with Vinegar

  • Focus on killing all visible mold first before using vinegar as a preventive measure.
  • Clean up any drips promptly as vinegar can etch certain surfaces over time.
  • Do not rinse off the vinegar. Let it air dry fully for maximum effectiveness.
  • Get into crevices, undersides of furniture, and hidden areas where mold thrives.
  • Use white distilled vinegar for the most powerful antimicrobial effects.
  • Wear goggles and gloves when scrubbing mold, especially toxic black mold.

Limitations of Vinegar for Mold Removal

While vinegar works well for some household mold issues, it does have limitations:

  • Not for porous materials – Vinegar cannot penetrate and kill mold growing deep in porous materials like drywall, wood, carpet, etc. Professional mold remediation is required in those cases.
  • Does not prevent future growth – Vinegar kills existing mold but does not make materials resistant to future growth. Fix moisture issues and maintain proper humidity levels.
  • May bleach or degrade certain surfaces – Vinegar is acidic so test first on concrete, grout, stone, and other alkaline surfaces.
  • Not effective on heavy mold – Severe mold requires stronger bleach-based biocides. Vinegar works best for minor surface mold.
  • Can cause reactions – Vinegar fumes can trigger asthma or allergy symptoms in sensitive individuals. Ensure proper ventilation.

When to Call a Professional for Mold Removal

In certain scenarios, it is best to have mold remediation done professionally:

  • If there is extensive visible mold covering over 10 square feet.
  • If mold is inside walls, HVAC systems, crawlspaces or other hard to reach areas.
  • If you have a mold allergy or sensitivity. The chemicals pros use are more effective.
  • If the moisture source cannot be fully fixed to prevent recurrence.
  • If drywall, carpeting, or other very porous materials are affected.
  • If dealing with potentially hazardous mold like black mold.


Vinegar is an affordable and effective DIY treatment to kill existing minor mold growth on non-porous household surfaces. It requires repeated and thorough applications to penetrate and neutralize mold at the roots. However, vinegar has limitations so vigilance is needed to prevent future regrowth and know when to call in the professionals. With diligence, vinegar can be your go-to, non-toxic mold killing solution.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does vinegar really kill mold?

Yes, vinegar is an effective mold killer. Its acidic properties penetrate and destroy the mold at a cellular level. Undiluted white vinegar applied repeatedly kills most common molds.

How long does vinegar take to kill mold?

Vinegar does not work instantly. You need to apply it liberally and let it sit for 1-2 hours before wiping and reapplying. It takes daily repeat applications for 3-5 days to fully kill mold.

Does vinegar remove mold forever?

No, vinegar only kills existing mold. It does not make materials resistant to future growth. You need to address excess moisture and humidity to prevent mold from recurring after vinegar treatment.

Is vinegar better than bleach for killing mold?

Vinegar is safer and less toxic but bleach is more powerful. For minor mold, vinegar works well. Bleach or stronger chemicals may be required for heavy mold removal. Never mix bleach and vinegar.

Can I mix vinegar and hydrogen peroxide to kill mold?

Yes, you can mix equal parts vinegar and 3% peroxide in a spray bottle. The combination is effective at killing mold spores. Test on a small area first before widespread use.